Tue, December 6th, 2016


The story behind The Kiss


The Kiss can simply be defined as a deceptively simple portrait that indicates love and lust. It was painted at the beginning of 19th Century by an Austrian symbolist painter called Gustav Klimt. It is also known as the most popular oil painting of Klimt.


This oil painting depicts a couple who are embracing each other. Moreover, their bodies have been entwined in order to elaborate the robes. The decoration style of this oil painting has heavily been influenced from the contemporary Art Nouveau Style.

The Kiss oil painting is stored in the Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere painting museum, which is located in Vienna.  The oil painting copies can be found in other parts of the world.


The career of Gustav Klimt was on the downswing when he was painting The Kiss. However, it helped him to become one of the most popular artists in the world. The popularity of The Kiss oil painting bears testimonials to prove the above mentioned fact. Before painting The Kiss, Klimt was engaged in a three part painting at the University of Vienna. However, the nudity depicted in those paintings created a tremendous impact on his reputation. He came up with The Kiss in order to get rid of the negative impact caused on his reputation.

The Kiss was bought before Klimt finished painting it. In fact, it was displayed at the Austrian Gallery for the first time back in 1908. However, Belvedere Museum made the decision to get it into their collection even if Klimt hasn’t finished drawing. The Kiss was an oil painting, which broke many records in the history as well. In fact, Belvedere spent 25,000 crowns in order to purchase this oil painting. It is equivalent to $240,000 in today’s currency. This was the highest amount paid for a painting that was not even finished painting.


Some of the Art Historians say that The Kiss is a self-portrait. In fact, they strongly believe that the Austrian painter Klimt and his longtime partner are seen lip-locked in this portrait. Emilie Floge, who was the lifelong partner of Klimt, has been depicted in another portrait as well. On the other hand, some people argue that the girl depicted in The Kiss can be a recurring muse. In fact, they said that a girl named Adele Bauer, who posed for another portrait of Klimt in the same year, has been depicted through The Kiss as well.


The Kiss can be defined as a major departure from the Klimt theme. If you pay attention towards the other oil paintings of this artist, you would realize that he has focused more on women. However, the inclusion of a man can be found in The Kiss. It was not the usual painting style of Klimt. As a result, he has gone beyond his own personal style when creating this oil painting. The bad reputation he had at that time might be the main reason behind the above mentioned fact.t

Monique Lucy Weberink, December 2016

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